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Catholic Dating & Marriage: How Marriage & The Family Fulfills Christ’s Two Great Commandments

December 1, 2011

catholic dating vocation definitionChrist’s two great commandments distills all of the 10 commandments into two simple yet demanding rules: love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Read how the sacrament of marriage and the vocation of raising the family encapsulates both.

It’s an interesting exercise in identifying the secularization of meanings to look up the definition for the word “vocation” these days. In many popular dictionaries, the two or three variations of meaning come close to what we understand that word to mean, and yet none of the definitions are ever willing to echo the etymology of the word itself: from the Latin vocatio, which is based on the Latin verb vocare.

“To call.”

Most Catholics easily identify a vocation as a calling — by God — to follow a certain path toward salvation. This pathway is of course guided by fulfilling Christ’s two all-encompassing commandments: to love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And as Catholics, we reserve the idea of a “vocation” not to describe our work in life — the term “profession” seems to work nicely instead — but rather to identify three very clear life committments: a religious life, a married life, or a single life.

We’ve discussed in another blog article about the true nature of one who is called to a “single life,” and the importance of recognizing it as a decision to engage in a simple, chaste, selfless lifestyle that seeks “aloneness with God” in every moment. But for many devout Catholics who are single and involved in Catholic dating communities, “the single life” is not an end-point: it is a transitory state, a means to an end, oriented toward putting all of our faith and trust in God that He will indeed send His choice of spouse across our own path. Because of this understanding among Catholic singles, a married life leads us into a vocation that provides a natural and lifetime opportunity to engage Christ’s Gospel message to love God and our neighbor.

It is easy for Catholic singles to get caught up in the desperate notion that marriage will somehow solve problems, end lonliness, and lead to fulfillment. But these reasons for seeking a partner in marriage are ultimately self-serving (and dangerous, since they establish expectations can are often impossible to fulfill); the reason why Christ himself affirmed marriage — most provocatively in his miracle at the wedding feast in Cana — is that God deems it as a vehicle for our own personal salvation. This realization is the only real fulfillment that should come from the committment and sacrifices that one makes in a married relationship.

The Sacrament of Matrimony indeed gives us the opportunity to “die to self” as St. Paul calls it, and just as a priest or nun displaces the self and puts God and his fellow man at the center of his or life, so too does the married Catholic do the same, with the needs of their spouse and children as those who he or she serves. To be sure, the married individual has not the time or singularity in their lives to devote to constant prayer, as a cloistered nun or monastic friar might have. But the struggle to earn a living; teach, love, and respect one’s children, and to fulfill and serve one’s spouse is a sacrifice that is every bit as evocative of Christ’s call to love one another, for, even within the institution of marriage and the family, the temptation remains for people to still live for themselves.

We see that at play in modern society all the time, do we not?

So, as we continue to approach a reckoning of our true vocation in life — according to God’s will — let us pray that our decision to marry, as well as our committment to a future spouse and children, will always be to achieve our own salvation, and to aid our loved ones in doing the same.

Thanks for reading our article! If you are a Catholic single, in search of a Catholic dating community that embraces the same ideas of marriage and the family expressed in this article, be sure to consider Ave Maria Singles, a devout online Catholic dating community. 

As a bonus, use promo code AMSBLOG when subscribing to Ave Maria Singles and get 10% off your subscription, just for reading this article! Take a look!

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